I hope that MSU finally realizes that they, too, need to be held responsible for enabling this monster to treat so many patients for so many years. Why wasn't any of these girls taken seriously when they were brave enough to report him? Was it because we were not boys or in a high profile sport?
date of testimony: January 18th 2018
location of testimony: Lansing, Michigan
date of first abuse: 1998
When I was told I was able to speak today as a former patient and sexual assault victim of Larry Nassar while at MSU Sports Medicine Clinic I had mixed feeling. How does one put into writing the roller coaster of emotions swirling through your head at any given time in this process?
Each of us has a story. Each of us a family. But each one of us has something in common; each one of us did not ask to be a victim, your victim.
My story begins when I was in high school. I was referred to Larry by my primary physician. It was for a gymnastics injury to my lower back. I was also a dancer from a young age and a high school gymnast. I was told by my primary physician that Larry was the best. He was an expert in gymnastics injuries as the USA Gymnastics team’s doctor.
My primary care physician was a runner and he was a patient of Larry’s at the sports medicine clinic at MSU. My family bleeds green. With most of them, including extended family, having worked or gone to MSU, I was confident that I would be getting the best care that I could. After all, I believed in MSU and I trusted MSU would only have the best doctors working for them and the safest conditions.
When I met Larry at the MSU Sports Medicine Clinic he was friendly, talkative, caring, and trusting. His room had photos of all the Olympic gymnasts he treated. He made you believe he wanted you to be pain-free and figure out the cause of your pain. All I wanted was to get back in my dance studio, back to gymnastics, and enjoy my high school senior year.
I started to see Larry some time between the winter of 1998 and the spring of 1999. It was my senior year of high school. I was young and naive.
I just wanted relief from my back spasms which I had been dealing with for over a year at this point.
After the first visit — at the first visit — they were all pretty much similar after the first visit. Appointments began with manipulations and deep tissue massages from my neck to my feet and then he focused on my lower back, my hip, and my pelvic area. Without warning or explanation he would insert his ungloved finger in me, or fingers. I lay on the table waiting for it to be over, at times wishing someone would knock on the door or come in to disrupt the treatment, or so-called treatment, and the awkwardness in the room or to validate that this was okay.
The first time it happened I was unsure of what was really happening. I was in shock and embarrassed. I had never experienced anything similar to this before. When the treatment was over, he washed his hands and discussed the treatment plan for when I would need to return, and he hurried out.
When I got up enough gumption to ask how this treatment would help my pain, Larry advised this was a technique that he had learned and discussed with trainers and doctors around the world at meets and competitions and that he had used it to help others. Who was I to question the treatments of a world-renowned doctor? I was putting my trust in my doctor and MSU.
I saw Larry every couple of weeks until I went to college in the fall of 1999. Then he advised me to make appointments when I would be home from breaks, so I did so until about 2002. After all, I believed he was helping to heal me. Now I know that was not the case.
I still have issues with my back and my hip. I wonder if I will ever fully recover from my physical injuries.
Then in September of 2016 my life changed.
I saw the Indianapolis Star news article, and as I began to read it, my head began to spin and I felt nauseous. It was as if I was voicing my own experiences. It was so eerily similar, but I had never spoken to anyone in detail about my treatments. It was too embarrassing.
Digesting what I had just read I realized that I was one of his victims, and I became angry. The first thing I did was to contact MSU Police to file a report. That process took several weeks. I never once imagined I would be in this position. The emotions were all encompassing. I was in shock that I, too, was a sexual assault victim. I hoped by filing my report that he would be stopped and that no others would have to go through these feelings.
As the months progressed and more information came out with regards to his charges and investigations, I was having trouble sleeping. I began to withdraw from my friends, my life, my family. I was angry, sad, disappointed that not only had I — or not only had Larry taken advantage of me but so had MSU. I put my trust in Larry as my doctor and MSU as his employer. Both those trusts had been shattered.
I am now relieved that he will be behind bars, and I hope that he will remain there for a long time to come. My hope is that the justice system will be able to prevent Larry from ever harming another girl again, and that Larry will get what he deserves for causing so much pain, not just to me but to all victims.
I hope that MSU finally realizes that they, too, need to be held responsible for enabling this monster to treat so many patients for so many years. Why wasn’t any of these girls taken seriously when they were brave enough to report him? Was it because we were not boys or in a high profile sport?
I and so many of us may not have had to have been a victim to a sexual predator disguised as a doctor. MSU enabled Larry by not having or following up on safeguards in place to protect us against his misconduct.
Was there no one managing or overseeing the sports medicine clinic with policies and procedures? Do they not monitor their physicians? Why did the medical students and the nurses all conveniently leave when treatments began? I need MSU to be truthful, transparent, and to take responsibility.
As I begin my journey to heal I want the sleepless nights to stop, to be happy again, to enjoy my life, my family, my kids. Most of all, I need you, Larry, to stop entering my thoughts and my daily life. I want future generations to have a better way to report sexual assault and to not feel the shame and the embarrassment that is placed on them. That we, the victims, are heard, understood, and believed. I am hopeful. We did not ask to be victims. We will be strong and brave together because we are survivors.
THE COURT: Thank you. And you are here with your sister, and that journey to heal is now with your voice and joined with you is your sister for that voice of change.
You said you are no longer a survivor — a victim. You are no longer a victim. You are a survivor with a loud voice, a voice that is taken seriously by this court. You are here not just to talk to defendant, you’ve done that, but to ask for change in the world. All of you are having that rippling effect. But also for sentencing.
I take what you say and what your sisters have to say very seriously. All of the survivors have very similar statements and feelings, but also there are some differences, and I recognize what they did to you, and it will be reflected in my sentencing. Public speaking is so important. I thank you for being here. I know how difficult it is.